Is biblical patriarchy a form of oppression to women?

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The biblical model of patriarchy is not oppressive to women. Men are called to to protect women as “the weaker vessel” and treat them with respect, reflecting the sacrificial love of Christ.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). The response of the husband to the wife’s submission is not to give a command, but to love. That immediately makes a partnership out of what otherwise would be a dictatorship.

A true husband never utters rude commands. His love will find expression in a variety of ways. It will be given in words of understanding and affection. The husband will properly provide for the wife’s temporal support (1 Timothy 5:8), he will do everything possible to assure her happiness (1 Corinthians 7:33) and he will give her every honor.

The supreme test of love is sacrifice. In this respect the husband is to imitate Christ, giving up personal pleasures and comforts to provide for his wife’s happiness and standing by her side in the hour of sickness, need and life’s difficulties.

Christ gave Himself for the church because she was in desperate need; He did it to save her. Likewise the husband will give himself for the salvation of his wife, ministering to her spiritual needs, and she to his, in a spirit of mutual love.

“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). The Christian husband will never take advantage of his wife, nor will he make unreasonable demands upon her “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband” (1 Cor. 7:2–5).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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